A huge adventure yesterday. We were at the Big Anxiety Project discussion at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Sydney has been wrapped inside a massive storm over the weekend. Not the kind of weather for a sensory-anxious autist and a rain-averse Greyhound to be out and about. But we had an important mission, and so, in true autist and Greyhound fashion, we persevered!
A very kind friend gave us a ride there. I was nervous and anxious for my friend’s safety – an elderly man with an elderly Greyhound. The roads were slippery and some parts flooded, but we made it there (and he made it safely home after dropping us off). Lucy needed to do her pre-work micturitions, and the pelting rain was not going to allow us any small pocket of congeniality, so, clad in her hooded raincoat, we dashed out into the deluge to find a spot. Lucy had her rain gear, but I had forgotten to bring a raincoat and umbrella for myself. In the mounting sensory anxiety, I did not think to borrow one from the other people who were there. It was a ridiculous picture, I am sure, this strange duo running in the rain looking for grass and trees! Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold and I somehow managed to slither through the rain with minimal damage – my hair was a soggy bedraggled mess and my sleeves were soaked through, but the thick velvet material of my vintage Philosophy dress and my trusty Doc Martens kept body and feet dry. Practical clothes matter a great deal to the hypersensory person! (My Prada handbag was completely soaked through, but I was far more worried about Lucy’s treats being ruined.)
Lucy was a good girl. I was overloading from the buzzing sounds, piercing and flashing lights, heavy smells of damp in the atmosphere mixing with a plethora of different perfumes and trying to keep up with the conversation going on. She alerted me several times, and even got up and softly barked at me once, but she stifled the bark and after wiggling her bum she went into a watchful ‘sphinx’ position.
The event went well. Despite the sensory assault and resultant high anxiety levels, I actually enjoyed it. But we did not stay for drinks – my head was pounding so hard, I was surprised nobody else could hear Stravinsky’s Le Sacre hammering through my skull. My friend Rick – who, among other many amazing things, is often my ‘executive-dysfunction help’ – was there and we toddled downstairs to the main lobby. Lucy needed to do another toilet and thankfully, Rick had a brolly. So, of we went again, the Bunny (this time with a brolly) and the Princess Greyhound in her K9 Apparel Greyhound raincoat. That was a really good buy, by the way, though maybe a red one would’ve been more fun than the black I chose.
Uber driver called to say he was stuck a few hundred metres away, because George Street was closed due to the rain and fallen trees. Back into the crazy wetness again, we trotted off to find our Uber car. Thankfully, he was congenial about dogs – even though Lucy did a big shake inside the car – and he knew about the law concerning assistance dogs. Phew.
Sometimes, sensory overload is worth the price to pay though, because I do believe that the BIG Anxiety Project is something that will not only bring art into a whole different sphere, but also propel the art-and-health movement forward in a cogently dynamic way. In plainspeak – it is a really important project! I am looking forward to the unfolding. Stay with us… stay tuned for more Bunny & Lucy adventures and the BIG Anxiety Project coming up really soon!